Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

23 March 2014

Namibia: Internet Traffic Between Locals Need Not Go Offshore

Local IT company, Dimension Data of the Ohlthaver & List Group was instrumental in helping to set up the Internet Exchange Point in Windhoek. In the first week of March, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Hon Stanley Simataa officially plugged in the first customer to go live on the Internet Exchange Point.

An internet Exchange Point relays local traffic between users, avoiding the need to go offshore for local contact. The initiative is the brainchild of the IXP Association, a non-profit organisation currently made up of ten members. These members provide the platform for members to connect and exchange internet information. Rowan Kleintjes, Managing Director of Dimension Data explained in more detail: "All members of the IXP join to establish a peer to peer connection with each other and exchange information and data.

This will reduce latency - the time it takes to open a local website. For the person using the internet, there will be a faster experience. Opening and using a local banking site should be much faster, for example." Kleintjes said the commissioner of the African Union commended Namibia's achievement as it was the first of 30 countries in Africa to go live. The AU, Internet Society and Afrinic sponsored 30 countries with training and equipment to foster internet peering amongst each other. The project has been running for the last three years.

Kleintjies said "We donated switching and routing equipment for this exchange to go live. Two of our staff members, Jakkie Nel and Joseph Elago, installed the equipment. I need to, however, mention that a project of this nature has many stakeholders, and we have to acknowledge that teamwork and cooperation was the real winner. " He concluded: "We definitely see this as creating a future, enhancing the internet experience - in true O&L style. The real work only starts now as we aim to introduce value added services. This will make it more sustainable for the future."

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